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Sycamore waiting on ComEd rates for energy contract choice

SYCAMORE – Sycamore city officials are waiting to learn ComEd’s electricity rates before deciding whether to extend a contract with First Energy that ends in August.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said he needs more time to see what exactly ComEd’s rates will be before suggesting a next step for the city’s bulk electricity purchasing program.

“We know rates are going to move up,” he said. “The question is where ComEd rates are, which won’t come out until later in the summer.”

The electric aggregation program, which allows residents to band together to secure lower electrical rates, was authorized in Sycamore in March 2012. The city entered into a two-year contract with First Energy for a fixed electricity rate of 4.81 cents a kilowatt hour, records show.

Since the program began, participating households have saved an average of $400 in electricity supply costs compared with what they would have paid with ComEd, for a cumulative citywide savings of more than $1.5 million.

Gregory said ComEd has been raising its electricity rates, so it is advisable to wait before reaching an agreement with a company.

“The goal would be to see one or two of these companies. If there’s an outlier that saves us money, then we go that route,” he said.

Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative anticipates ComEd’s rates to fall to 7.5 cents a kilowatt hour in June, the agenda states.

Paul Callighan, ComEd external affairs director, said ComEd’s rates are established by the cost of power generation and that ComEd makes no profit off the costs. Power for ComEd customers is purchased through the Illinois Power Authority on a bidding process that is overseen by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

ComEd’s rates will be known in the first week of May and will take effect in June.

“We’re not in a position to be able to talk about electricity rate trends or future rate trends since we’re not directly involved in that process,” Callighan said.

The resolution will be brought back to City Council on June 2 with updated prices.

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